So you’ve got yourself a skateboard and are ready to hit the skate park? Not so fast! As with any activity, you’ve got to learn the basics before you can start pushing the boundaries. Skateboarding is no different - master the fundamentals and you’ll be well set to take your skateboarding in whichever direction you like.
Skateboarding can be an immensely enjoyable and efficient way to get around and many people get into skating just wanting to cruise. Like in many action sports, however, there’s also athletes pushing skateboarding to new extremes and enticing new people to enter the sport.
No matter what your aspirations are as a skateboarder, you’ll need to nail the fundamentals before you hit the streets. In this article we’ll walk you through all you need to know to get cruising.
The first thing you’ll want to figure out is your stance. Your options are goofy or regular and they simply relate to which of your feet is at the front of the board.
As demonstrated in the video below, the best way to determine whether you’re goofy or regular is by running and jumping and landing sideways. If you land with your left foot forward you’re likely regular, and right foot goofy.
Another way to determine your stance is to try sliding sideways on something, like in socks on a polished wooden floor.
Next, get comfortable standing on the board on a soft surface like carpet or grass. Place your feet on the bolts at either end of the board. Lean backwards and forwards and try and manipulate the angle of the board with your ankles. The aim is to get a feel for how the trucks allow the angle of the deck to change as you move.
Find large concrete area and try rolling on the flat by starting next to a solid object you can push off. Do this for as long as you need to get comfortable with just being on top of the board.
The easiest way to turn is carving. This is done by simply rolling forward and backwards in your sideways stance. Use your ankles as well as your body weight. This will cause the trucks to slightly change the direction of your wheels, which will in turn change the direction of the skateboard.
The second way to turn is called a kick turn. This type of turn involves taking the front wheels off the ground while you pivot on the back wheels, which will allow you to change direction much faster than with carving.
Set your back foot on the tail of the board and apply pressure while shifting your weight slightly backwards. At first, you’ll want to just lift the nose of the ground then push it back down again.
Once you’re comfortable with that, try using your body to pivot slightly so your front wheel lift becomes a lift and turn, meaning the board is placed down in a different direction to where it was originally.
When done multiple times in a row, often as a way to gain speed, this is known as a tic-tac.
Stand on your board while stationary, turn your front foot slightly forward and bend your front knee. Reach down with your back foot and give yourself a gentle push forward. Place your back foot back on the board as you roll.
As you gain confidence, you can try to give yourself another push before you completely come to a stop. Over time, you’ll push at greater and greater speeds.
Some skaters push with their front foot, which is called mongo, however your best bet is to start off pushing with your back foot. You can always try out mongo further down the line.
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The easiest way to break is to take your back foot off the board and drag it along the ground. Breaking is, however, personal preference, and you may find over time you prefer to use the toe of your back foot, or the tail of your board.
Because of the beating your shoes take during the process of breaking, it’s important to invest in good quality skate shoes, which are reinforced in the appropriate areas and designed to withstand the wear and tear of skateboarding.
You’ve now got the all the basics you need to skateboard. Spend as much time as you can simply riding your board and practicing your skills. Find big flat concrete areas so you don’t have to worry too much about obstacles.
There’s no point rushing into tricks or park skating if you’re not 100% comfortable with the fundamentals. Allow yourself time to nail the basic manoeuvres - it will reward you in the long term.
Skateboarding can be a dangerous sport. Ensure you wear the appropriate protective gear such as a helmet, knee and elbow pads and skate in areas away from vehicles.